On June 6, 2011, former Saint Mary's high school football star, Quadree Hubbard, and seven (7) other juveniles were arrested in Paterson, New Jersey, after police allegedly saw them around a duffel bag, which contained a shot gun. No details regarding the stop and search were disclosed.
Hubbard was charged with possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, terroristic threats and aggravated assault. In order for the State to convict Hubbard, it must prove all elements in the following statutes:
2C:12-3. Terroristic threats.
a. A person is guilty of a crime of the third degree if he threatens to commit any crime of violence with the purpose to terrorize another or to cause evacuation of a building, place of assembly, or facility of public transportation, or otherwise to cause serious public inconvenience, or in reckless disregard of the risk of causing such terror or inconvenience. A violation of this subsection is a crime of the second degree if it occurs during a declared period of national, State or county emergency. The actor shall be strictly liable upon proof that the crime occurred, in fact, during a declared period of national, State or county emergency. It shall not be a defense that the actor did not know that there was a declared period of emergency at the time the crime occurred.
b. A person is guilty of a crime of the third degree if he threatens to kill another with the purpose to put him in imminent fear of death under circumstances reasonably causing the victim to believe the immediacy of the threat and the likelihood that it will be carried out.
2C:39-4a: Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose
"Any person who has in his possession any firearm with a purpose to use it unlawfully against the person or property of another is guilty of a crime" [emphasis added].
2C:12-1b: Aggravated Assault
A person is guilty of aggravated assault if he:
- 1. Attempts to cause serious bodily injury to another, or causes such injury purposely or knowingly or under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life recklessly causes such injury; or
2. Attempts to cause or purposely or knowingly causes bodily injury to another with a deadly weapon; or
3. Recklessly causes bodily injury to another with a deadly weapon; or
4. Knowingly under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life, points a firearm... at or in the direction of another, whether or not the actor believes it to be loaded...
These are serious offenses which carry a maximum of ten (10) years in prison, if convicted.
Originally, one of the co-defendant minors claimed that Hubbard pointed the gun at him. He later stopped cooperating with the State and did not testify. A Paterson police officer testified that he saw a group of juveniles around the bag, but that he did not see any of them with it in their hands. As such, whether the State can prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that each, or each individually, possessed the weapon, is unclear.
Hubbard waived his right to a jury trial, a daring and risky tactic, but it worked. He was recently found not guilty of all charges.
Superior Court Judge Raymond A. Reddin found reasonable doubt primarily due to lack of evidence. Specifically, Judge Reddin said that there was no testimony that the defendant actually "possessed" the weapon. Judge Reddin also credited the defendant's character witness, former Paterson, New Jersey, councilwoman, Vera Ames-Garnes.
To discuss this blog further, contact me at Matthew@jtlaw.org.